Friday Recap ~ Subpar & Surprising Sequels

Hello and Happy Friday!

In today’s recap of this weeks’ reads, I take a trip down memory lane and revisit two of my least favourite books of all time.

That’s right, for some insane reason, I decided to push myself to read the sequels to two young adult novels that absolutely infuriated me, Anna and the French Kiss and Stalking Jack the Ripper. I don’t know what compelled me to engage in this sort of torture, but I thought that maybe I had been a bit harsh towards these two books when I read them and felt that giving the sequels a chance to impress me was the right thing to do.

Well, believe it or not, my sequel challenge had surprising results, as you’ll see in the reviews below…

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephenie Perkins

~ Sequel to Anna and the French Kiss

Why did I do this to myself?

I HATED Anna and the French Kiss with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns. So why did I think I would fare any better with its sequel? Truthfully, I didn’t…I had a hunch I would dislike Lola just as much, but for some masochistic reason I decided to give it a shot. Big mistake. 

Some words I would use to describe this novel and its characters: insufferable, insipid, innocent, naive, juvenile, annoying, pathetic. Lola is a seventeen year old who acts like she’s barely thirteen, and I don’t know a single seventeen year old (or any age high school student for that matter) who would enjoy this novel. The way Lola talks about sex with euphemisms and veiled expressions is cringe-worthy and childish, and her obsession with costumes and wigs became extremely confusing and annoying very quickly. If Lola was presented to me as a ten year old, I would’ve bought it, and I had the same issues with her as I did with Lara Jean in the To All The Boys I Loved Before series. I feel like some YA authors pander to their audience and fail to understand just how mature and adult teenagers are, and that is a HUGE failing that keeps the genre from being widely respected. 

Cricket is also the most bland, white  paper character. No wait, sorry, that’s Anna…but more on that in a moment. Cricket is supposed to be this quirky inventor guy, but when he talks, he’s so goddamn boring and cliché and his inventions are ridiculously simple. Like, he devised a pulley system as an elevator for Lola’s Barbies… Wow, groundbreaking man…NOT! It’s like Perkins wasn’t smart enough to come up with any actual inventions and it shows. Cricket is just so bleh that I wanted him with Lola so they could go off and be annoying somewhere far away from me!

Also WTF is with Lola and Max’s relationship? Talk about WEIRD! I have no problem with age differences, but Max was a typical older boyfriend obsessed with his power dynamic with Lola and I wasn’t feeling it. He seemed like an unnecessary plot device designed to make it harder for Lola to be with Cricket. But, Lola basically cheats on Max anyway…so yeah…she’s SUPER frustrating!

Finally (I’m legit too tired out by this book to rant about it any further!), the inclusion of Anna and St. Clair made me want to hurl. GOD I DESPISE THEM!!! St. Clair is sooo juvenile and when he makes his stupid jokes, I just want to punch him in the face. I do NOT find him charming whatsoever! And Anna is the most boring, whatever character in the history of literature. She is so unmemorable that she makes Lola seem interesting. I was completely peeved to meet these characters again tbh. 

I gave Anna and the French Kiss 2 stars for some unknown reason. Maybe I was feeling magnanimous, I don’t know?! But not today, folks…hell no!

❥ (out of 5)

PS – Does it make me a bad person if I cackled when Lola destroyed her Marie Antoinette wig?! 🙊

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

~ Sequel to Stalking Jack the Ripper

Notes written as I read…PLUS a startling conclusion!!! ……

  • every Victorian cliché imaginable = Orient Express, offhand mention of Poe’s characters, INCESSANT mention of corsets (WE GET IT!!!) …Feels like an unskilled, heavy-handed way of writing historical fiction. 
  • Thomas is sooo fucking annoying! His “flirting” is so on the nose, it actually hurts! *puke*
  • In what world would Thomas and Audrey Rose be allowed to examine a cadaver on a packed train? What gives them the authority to do so?
  • Some sentences legitimately make no sense from a grammatical perspective… “anxious to be outside this wretched castle and its miserable inhabitants…” ?! Outside its inhabitants ?!

… Okay…I hesitate to say this, but I am actually not hating this anymore (at 22% in). Audrey Rose isn’t as annoying as in book #1 and I actually think her struggle with her PTSD and new-found sexuality is interesting. And while I still don’t find Thomas intoxicating, I don’t want to punch him in the face…yet. Will my good luck continue?! 🤞

~ “My mind was trying to kill me.” …Been there! ~

  • The one thing I find a bit random and far-fetched is that Daciana and Ileana both find a way to stay at the castle. It’s meant to be a private school, so how do they just get themselves admittance? (This is sort of explained in the end, thank God!)
  • Oddly, I also don’t mind the discourse on gender inequality, particularly because Audrey Rose gets annoyed with Thomas for obsessing over her “fragile constitution”. You go girl! 
  • The scene where Thomas plays dead … What an absolute D-BAG!!! “‘I am so close to breaking, Thomas…So close to losing myself.’” 😩
  • Woah woah WOAH! Thomas is Dracula’s heir now?! WTF!!! Just when I was actually starting to enjoy this, some stupid “twist” is dropped that is wayyy too convenient. This is just lazy writing if you ask me. Whyyy?!?! 
  • The body being Anastasia’s does not add up for me. Why wouldn’t Moldoveanu mention it when Audrey Rose was speculating about her whereabouts? This is all way too abrupt. It’s like the novel is racing to its conclusion too quickly. (This was also, thankfully, explained in the end.)
  • Is Radu the murderer? Would that be predictable or cool? Hard to say! (65% of the way done)
  • I honestly do not understand why anyone would want to study at this insane, godforsaken school!!! The entire premise of them vying for spots is flawed. 
  • FML a lot of this book is really gross and making me itchy (ie- the bats and spiders). Bleh!!!
  • I’ll admit, this end section in the tunnels is pretty rad and I am on the edge of my seat!

Okay…okay…okay…

What do I even say? I didn’t hate this…by George, I didn’t hate this and that is a MIRACLE! I actually quite enjoyed it, especially the heart-pounding conclusion, and I found myself becoming fond of Audrey Rose. I’m truly a changed person!

This book for sure has flaws and I don’t know that the plot really makes sense if you sit down and think about it…but I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and (*gasp*) feel compelled to pick up the other books in the series. 

Who even am I?!?!

❥❥❥ (out of 5)

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

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